WARNING: The Goldfinger “Forgiveness” video contains lyrics not appropriate for children.
There are two different songs called “Forgiveness” I’ve listened to over the years. One by the ska-punk secular band Goldfinger, the other by Contemporary Christian artist Matthew West. Their music videos are above. Do they both discuss Biblical forgiveness? Kind of, let’s delve into them further as we review the Goldfinger and West lyrics.
In the Goldfinger song, we have a person who is blaming someone else for their own problems. The singer then says, “Look, you don’t know why they did what they did and really, I’m sure they were not trying to harm you.” The chorus is then the band asking the person to forgive, to let it go because letting it go can save them. From what? The hate they are holding onto. Goldfinger specifically says, “Forgiveness forgiveness / Try and let it go why don’t you / Forgiveness Just might save yourself.” They repeat this a few times and say it more colorfully a few times (dropping a few f-bombs along the way).
How does that compare to Matthew West? West talks about how forgiveness matters and yet talks about how it is one of the hardest things you will have to do. It is a challenge to forgive. It goes against your very nature and the world around us is telling us we have every right to hold onto our grudge. In the chorus he asks the Lord to help him to forgive, to help all of us forgive. Then at the end, it mentions how forgiveness can free a prisoner, but that the prisoner it truly frees is…the forgiver. In the end, West repeats a similar sentiment to Goldfinger that the person saved by forgiveness at times is the very person who is forgiving as the hate, anger, and bitterness is cleansed with them.
The Bible calls us to forgive others (Mark 11:25, Matthew 6:15, Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:13, etc). And not merely to forgive them once, but to forgive them over and over again (Matthew 18:21-22). What’s interesting is seeing two songs from different years, from different musicians, from different genres, and with wildly different tones striking the same message of forgiveness. Forgiveness matters.
As Christians, we are called to forgive as the Lord forgives? The Lord forgives completely even though we don’t deserve it. While we were still living in sin, rebelling against our Creator – He willingly became a man and died in our place (John 3:16, Romans 5:8, 1 Peter 3:18). We are to forgive like that, radically.
We don’t. We often hold onto grudges. What does that do to us? It destroys us internally. The hatred stews within us, leading to anger, bitterness, and sorrow. Forgiveness may help the other party (and as one who has been forgiven, we should all know that it does), but in the end it also frees us. Oddly enough, both Goldfinger and Matthew West agree on this point. Forgiveness matters and is freeing. So let us all learn to forgive. Let us all follow the Lord’s example in doing so.